Category : Book Arts Guild of Vermont

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Online Resources for the Book Arts

Last Wednesday, I did a presentation for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont on online resources for the book arts.

I was delighted to have an enthusiastic crowd of 15  – way more than I anticipated. I kinda thought folks would stay away because let’s face it – computers are mostly unsexy.

Making stuff – now that’s sexy.

I tried to give an overview of what’s out there – blogs, image galleries, forums, videos, tutorials – you name it. If I had more time, I could easily expand the presentation from two hours to, oh, about a gazillion.

My favorite part of the presentation was when folks asked questions that led us to other websites. I’m always happy to go further down the rabbit hole.

I gave a resource booklet to everyone who came to the presentation – the pages were bound using a pamphlet stitch. You can download the booklet by clicking on the following link: Online Resources for Book Artists. The pages are formatted for binding – just fold the two pages in half, nest them, and you’re good to go!

I’d like to give credit to the wonderful photographer behind the booklet cover image – my hubby. The model is Preston, my book press (and he’s taken).

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Dowel Spine Portfolio

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I was in charge of the evening’s program and taught folks the Dowel Spine Portfolio, a structure I learned during my summer workshop at the Focus on Book Arts conference with Peter Thomas.

When I received my grant from the Vermont Arts Council, one of my goals was to provide at least one free workshop based on a class I attended at the conference. Mission accomplished.

Below you can see my completed Dowel Spine Portfolio, as I discussed in this post about Peter’s workshop.

Backside of dowel spine portfolio

I was able to adapt Peter’s book to a size that accommodates a CD – I taught that at the class as well. I can’t teach a workshop without being a dork and taking a picture of my workshop supplies, eagerly awaiting folks to arrive.

Dowel Spine Portfolio workshop - supplies

I was convinced that the turnout would be small, as I figured that a lot of folks would be on vacation. 23 people showed up. I couldn’t believe it. And that room was small – it was like cramming a bunch of bookbinding clowns into a car.

Please note that the Guild members are not actually clowns.

Book Arts Guild of Vermont members

I realized that when I teach a workshop, I achieve an unavoidable sense of “Bwwahahahhahh!”. And I express it. It’s just who I am.

I think the workshop went well. Folks went home with 2 books and many attendees told me that they were going to teach the structure to others, which makes me happy.

What made me even happier was that I had prepared 24 sets of materials, hoping for the best with attendance. I went home empty-handed. 🙂

Learn Dowel Spine Portfolio with the Book Arts Guild of VT

At August’s meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, I will teach the Dowel Spine Portfolio, a structure created by Peter Thomas. It’s a non-adhesive structure that requires few tools and materials. I learned this structure in a class I took with Peter at the Focus on Book Arts conference.

The first book we’ll make will be of a size that can accommodate a standard business card. The second book is a version of the structure that I adapted to fit a CD.

Here are the specifics:

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Firehouse Gallery
Address: 135 Church Street, Burlington, VT

Tools to bring with you (I will bring extra tools to the workshop, so don’t worry if you don’t have them):

  • Bonefolder
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

I look forward to seeing you there!

Book Arts Guild of Vermont visit to UVM Special Collections

Last Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. Instead of meeting in our usual location, the Firehouse Gallery, we took a field trip to UVM Special Collections at the Bailey/Howe Library.

Special Collections at UVM is well-regarded among members of the College Art Association. According to an article in the Spring 2006 issue of Vermont Quarterly, The Illuminated Word: Special Collections Celebrates Artists’ Books, UVM’s book arts collection has grown to over 2,700 volumes. That number includes both fine press and artists’ books. Amazingly, you don’t need an appointment to view the collection. You can drop by any time during regular library hours and the staff will be happy to assist you.

The Guild visited Special Collections a couple of years ago and since then, the library has changed their policy on glove use. At our first visit, we were required to wear white cotton gloves when handling books. Visitors to Special Collections now no longer need to wear gloves. I asked Prudence Doherty, the Special Collections Librarian, why there was a change in policy and she remarked that there is an industry standard that is now against glove use.

Prudence Doherty, UVM Special Collections

Prudence gave us a wonderful tour of a selection of books with themes of “family” and/or “home”.

I really enjoyed Emily Martin‘s book More Slices of Pie. This piece is based upon an earlier work of Martin’s Eight Slices of Pie, with each slice containing family stories and recipes. I was particularly drawn to the work because it wasn’t complicated in its construction and yet it conveyed such a powerful message. It reminded me that sometimes less is more – you don’t need a lot to create a strong visual statement.

On the other end of the design spectrum is Julie Chen of Flying Fish Press. Her work is so layered and complex. I love love love her work. I was lucky enough to view one of her more recent pieces, Panorama.


Panorama by Julie Chen

I also got my hands on Evidence of Compression, a Chen work from 2001.

I look at Julie Chen’s work through different eyes now that I’ve taken a class with her. Before she was just awesome.

Now she is total awesomesauce.

I blogged during my weeklong class with Julie and you can read all about it in the posts listed below:

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Books and Fiber Art

This past Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. This month’s program, Books and Fiber Art, was led by Sally Knight.

After attending the meeting, I’m convinced that Sally is some kind of fabric Jedi Master. She showed us a bunch of samples of her work, which was just fabulous. I tried to Google her to see if I could link to any images, but sadly, I couldn’t find any.

Sally worked as a professional fiber artist from 1989 through 2003, creating art quilts, fabric jewelry, and artists’ books. She talked about her adventures in trying to find a method for stiffening fabric without compromising its surface texture.

She said that the magic bullet is (I kid you not) a product called Stiffy. The goo is made by Plaid, the same company that makes those 2 oz. bottles of craft paint. This Stiffy stuff is pretty cool – it doesn’t leave any residue or look like it’s soaked into the fabric. It just makes the fabric look like you did a great job ironing it really, really flat. You can also cut the treated fabric and it won’t unravel AND you can glue it down without the glue soaking through. I think the use of this product has great possibilities for making books.

And lots of inappropriate jokes.

After Sally talked about her fabric experiences, she taught us one of Claire Van Vliet‘s (Janus Press) bindings – an interlocking book structure that Van Vliet used for her artist book Aunt Sallie’s Lament. The structure looks really complicated, but is fairly easy to construct. That is, of course, if you’re paying attention and not busy chatting with your neighbor. That wasn’t me.

Anyway, if you’re interested in learning more about the binding, you can find on pages 13-17 of the book Woven and Interlocking Book Structures, by Claire Van Vliet and Elizabeth Steiner. The book retails for $35.00 and is available at Talas and John Neal Bookseller.

Woven and Interlocking Book Structures by Claire Van Vliet

The bindings presented in the book really push you to think about how form and content must be considered together when planning book design. Van Vliet has a number of limited edition artist books available for purchase as well from Vamp and Tramp, Booksellers. Oh, and lives in Vermont, like me. Yay!

Wednesday’s meeting was also the deadline for our collaborative Vermont Lake Champlain Quadricentennial Book Project (you can read more about that here). I finished my last piece within hours of the meeting. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

The first image I came up with was for The Lake -I just knew I had to do a straight-on fish image, with the little swimmer looking like, “Dude, what are you looking at? Get that stupid hook out of my face!”

The next image was for The Land – I wanted to do something unexpected, so I decided to focus on the Lake Champlain wetlands instead of the frequently-shot image of the lake landscape.

Lastly came The People – I’m not very good with representations of people, so I decided to go with logo for the Abenaki Nation.

It was nice to get back to collage work, which I haven’t really done in quite some time. Once I got started, it was like I had never stopped.

All three of the pieces were collaged using primarily Unryu papers. They come in such a fun range of colors and textures – easy to work with.

On a closing note, today is my one-year blogiversary. I’m proud to have become a part of such a wonderful community of book artist-bloggers.

I have learned so much from all of you!

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Buttonhole Binding

Last Wednesday I taught the second of my bookbinding workshops during a five-day period (read about the other one here). This workshop was for the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont.

The focus of the meeting was supposed to be about all of the different online resources for book artists – forums, blogs, suppliers, etc. The week before the meeting, I found out that we weren’t going to have any internet access.

Kinda puts a damper on a discussion of online resources.

So in a spectacular state of denial, I volunteered to develop a different program for the evening. After a resounding chorus of “Oh Crap!”, I settled on the buttonhole binding.

I had never done the buttonhole binding before.

Fingers crossed (well, toes crossed – I needed my fingers), I picked up my copy of Keith Smith‘s Non-Adhesive Binding Volume I: Books Without Paste or Glue, found his directions, and got to work.

My first attempt was not too bad. I learned that Lokta paper is not a wise choice for a buttonhole cover – too soft and mushy. Once I understood what materials were needed, I notified the Guild about the upcoming program. I prepped my supplies on Tuesday evening and was good to go for the workshop.

With the short notice, I assumed that I would have  a small crowd – there were 16 people!

I made a point of telling folks that I just taught myself the binding three days earlier, so it has to be an easy method to learn. Although I experienced some short-term nervousness, I got over it pretty quickly. I mostly became focused on making sure that people were getting help when needed.

Buttonhole binding workshop

Overall, I think the workshop went pretty well. I received some nice feedback from the participants too, which made me feel good. I think that I’m gradually becoming more comfortable with teaching groups of people. I’ve started mapping out a possible longer class in my mind – one that I might pitch to a local art center – I need to flesh it out a bit more first.

Buttonhole binding workshop - hands at work

One of the best things about this whirlwind of a class was that I finally learned a new binding that I’ve wanted to try for a few years. Sometimes I get stuck in trying new techniques because I’m so concerned about having them come out perfectly – I don’t allow myself the space to practice and learn. Having a deadline made me more motivated to finally get to it and to stop making excuses.

For those of you who know the buttonhole binding, I have a question:

When I went through my library of bookbinding books, I was only able to find the buttonhole binding directions in Keith Smith’s book. Did he invent/develop this binding?

If not, does anyone know the origin?

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Valentines

Last Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. We spent the evening making valentines, which brought me right back to first grade. We were taught how to make woven hearts, using the following patterns from the Origami Resource Center:

It’s so strange – as soon as I try to make something special for my hubby, my inner critic comes out in full force. It’s like nothing I can make will be good enough. I hate all of the materials I have to work with and I hate everything that everyone else brought to share. It’s just all wrong. I experience the same thing when I write in birthday or anniversary cards for Chris – my words are always completely wrong.

So here’s what I came up with:

I wove together some handmade paper and pieces of a map. The circle in the middle is a button made of polymer clay. After this image was taken, I drew in an arrow pointing to the star and added “You are here.”

Geez, I so didn’t like it – absolutely not inspiring by any stretch of the imagination. But I gave it to him anyway (not on Valentine’s Day). He said he liked it.

I think he was just being nice.

I was completely prepared to throw the whole woven heart concept out the window based on this experience. Then my hubby came to me and asked if we could make an anniversary card for his parents. All of a sudden, the woven heart seemed to be the perfect solution.

Woven anniversary card

This I liked. I really did. Now I just need to figure out what to do for the “real” Valentine’s Day card.


Book Arts Guild of Vermont meeting: Lake Champlain Celebration and “Show & Tell”

This past Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont.

The meeting had two components:

  1. Discussion of the B.A.G. Quadricentennial Book Project
  2. “Show & Tell” of resources, tools, etc. that you have found useful or interesting in your bookbinding work

The Vermont Lake Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration will last throughout 2009 to mark the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s discovery of the now-named Lake Champlain. Events will be held all over the state – you can view a schedule of the events on the Quadricentennial website.

The Book Arts Guild of Vermont will be working on a collaborative book project that, once completed, will be on display at the Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center through the summer. Based on the themes of The Lake, The Land, The People, participating B.A.G. members will create three 5″ x 5″ panels with one representing each of the themes. Depending on the number of participants, the panels will be assembled in either one large flag book or three separate flag books, one for each theme. Our panels are due on April 1st (no kidding!), so I need to start brainstorming.

I was quickly struck with an image for the lake theme – I envisioned a fish, one native to Lake Champlain, face-forward and staring right at you from inside the lake. I believe he’s thinking, “Hey you, come and get me!” I’m not really sure why that particular image came to me, but clearly it must be done. The fish told me to.

The show & tell portion of the meeting was fun. One of the members, who had studied bookbinding in England, brought a cool-looking drill.

Mini bookbinding drill

It’s the cutest thing ever. You push down on the top repeatedly and the screw tip drills down. I’m guessing that this drill resembles the insides of a Japanese screw punch, but this one is cooler because you get to see the mechanics at work. For some reason, I think it looks like a syringe for giving shots to naughty children. Unfortunately, this drill was purchased in England from an unknown source.

I did a quick Google search and couldn’t find one like it. Meh. I’m such a sucker for cool-looking tools. If anyone knows where to get this drill, please let me know.

I promise I won’t immunize anyone with it.

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Panel Books

Last Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. The big difference at this meeting was that I was in charge of the evening’s program. I decided to teach folks the Panel Book, the structure I learned during my summer workshop at the Garage Annex School with Julie Chen.

Below you can see my completed panel book, as I discussed in this post about Julie’s workshop.

The panel book was developed by Hedi Kyle – a book arts innovator and all-around genius (I took a fabulous class with her about 2 years ago). The structure is a modified accordion book that has cut-out panels that swivel. This creates interesting possibilities for presentation – content can be viewed from either the front or the back when the book is stretched open, or it can be read in a traditional manner (page by page) when the book is closed.

A confession – I suffer from performance anxiety. I worried about this workshop for weeks. Well, ever since I agreed to do the workshop. It comes from a reasonable place – I really don’t want to do a sucky job. I managed to acquire the all-too-familiar stomach ache as I drove up to Burlington.

Luckily, my worst fears never materialized. Of course, I had a great time. I was surprised when I counted 18 people in the workshop. The beginning was easiest because everyone started in the same place. It was when folks started moving ahead of each other that I had to really hustle to keep everyone engaged. It was quite fun running around – it helped to burn off the nervous energy.

I did some internet research on the Panel Book and was surprised that I couldn’t find anything on it with regards to Hedi Kyle. At the Book Arts Guild workshop I talked to Gwen Morey, owner of Stamp on It, a rubber stamp store in Essex Junction, VT. She told me that a variation of the structure had been used in the card world for years – they refer to it as a Swing Card.

Templates for the Swing Card were easy to find (thanks Google!):

It seems that the panels of the Panel Book move much more freely than those on the Swing Card. Decide for yourself – you can download my template for the Panel Book for your own use. The measurements are designed to accommodate a panel the size of an artist trading card (2.5″ x 3.5″).

Overall, I’m really glad I did the workshop. Even though I might complain, I enjoy being pushed to try new experiences, especially when I can share what I know with others. I’ve learned a lot from others in the Book Arts Guild and it felt good to finally give something back.

Extreme Production Adventure with Carol Barton II: Jigs and Templates

One of the best things I learned from Carol Barton during her trip to Vermont was how to effectively use jigs and templates.

In my own production work, I have a “recipe book” that contains all of my standards measurements and designs – this keeps me from having to redefine the process each time I make an item. However, I have never had the opportunity to make use of templates or jigs in my work. So when the Book Arts Guild of Vermont got together to assemble copies of the Studio Protector for the Craft Emergency Relief Fund – read more about it in this post– I was excited to see what Carol had designed to help streamline production.

So I have to admit, I never really thought about the difference between a jig and a template – I’ve often used the terms interchangeably. Bad me.

So I did some research and came up with the following distinctions:

  • A template serves as a pattern, model, gauge, or guide.
  • A jig is used to guide machine or hand work, for example locating holes or making score marks. These can have hinged components.

So now that I have my terms straight, I can say that in the workshop, we didn’t use any templates because all of the pieces were laser cut in advance. We did, however, use several jigs.

Carol told us that when constructing jigs with hinged pieces, she prefers to use gaffers tape, which is made of cotton cloth and is commonly used in the theater industry. Duct tape or packing tape can also be used. I’m going to share images of several jigs, along with explanations of how they were used.

The image above shows a jig we used for the base piece of the Studio Protector. The base of the jig is made of bookboard, as are the 4 curved pieces glued on to the surface. In the center of the left side, you can see a shiny piece of metal – that’s a magnet. This jig had a small circle carved in it into which a magnet was inset – this was to help us attach a magnet to the same spot on each of the base pieces.

Jig for production of handmade books

As you can see above, we placed the base piece of cardstock into the jig.  The cardstock had curves cut out that matched the curved pieces on the jig, so it slid perfectly into position. Now here’s the cool part – to get the magnet in the correct position, all you had to do was hover a new magnet over the spot on the jig that had the inlaid magnet and the new magnet snapped right into position. Voila! Perfect placement every time. We would secure the magnet to the cardstock with a white label.

The colored stickers on each curved piece of bookboard indicated the placement of 4 pockets that were later glued in. This eliminated any confusion about which pocket went where.

One of the cardstock pieces required two different jigs to get all of the scoring done.

Above you can see the first jig we used to score a Fire Alarm piece. The base of this jig is made of bookboard and the 3 attached L-shaped guides in the corners are as well. Next you can see the jig with the Fire Alarm in position.

Jig for production of handmade books

And now you can see the jig with the hinged piece closed over the top of the Fire Alarm. The overlay piece is made of mat board. The overlay was attached with packing tape on the inside (because it was thinner) and duct tape on the outside (because it was stronger).

Jig for production of handmade books
One score line was made across the top left edge of the of the overlay piece, so it went all the way across the piece of cardstock that extended above the jig. The next score line was made on the bottom right edge of the overlay piece. If you look carefully, you can see a short notch cut into the mat board overlay. This notch acted as a guide to help us score only where it was needed – the ends of the notch stopped us from extending the score line too far. So cool.

Above you can see the second jig we used to score a Fire Alarm piece. The base, overlay, and attached guide pieces are all made of bookboard. Once again, the overlay was attached with packing tape on the inside and duct tape on the outside. Next you can see the jig with the Fire Alarm in position.

Jig for production of handmade books

And now you can see the jig with the hinged piece closed over the top of the Fire Alarm.

Jig for production of handmade books

This time the score lines were made in 4 places: along the left side of the overlay (left flap), across the top left and bottom left sides (tiny flaps with dots on them), and along the top right side. Once again, notches were cut into the overlay to prevent us from over-scoring the cardstock.

So a big yay for jigs! Once created, jigs essentially guarantee that you do your job correctly. And who wouldn’t love more non-screw ups in the studio?

Pin It on Pinterest